US: Architecture Billing Index Remains Strong

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Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
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The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has reported a “healthy and sustained”Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for the month of July.

Though slightly down from a mark of 55.7 in June, the July ABI score was 54.7, reflecting an increase in design serves within the US. The new projects inquiry index was 63.7, up slightly from a reading of 63.4 the previous month.

A breakdown of regional highlights and foresight from the AIA Chief Economist, after the break.

architecture billing index

“On top of what has been a flurry of design activity in recent months, some architects are reporting a break in the logjam created by clients placing projects on hold for indefinite periods, which bodes well for business conditions in the months ahead,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “There is some uneasiness in the design community that rapid growth in construction costs could escalate beyond development capital and municipal budgets, which could trigger some contraction in the marketplace down the road.”

Regional Averages:

  • Midwest (58.2)
  • South (55.7)
  • Northeast (53.5)
  • West (53.8)

Sector Index Breakdown:

  • Multi-family residential (49.8)
  • Mixed Practice (56.8)
  • Commercial/Industrial (53.4)
  • Institutional (57.3)

Key July ABI Highlights:

  • Project inquiries index (63.7)
  • Design contracts index (54.5)

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. Regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers. Any score above 50 reflects an increase in design services.

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